07.09.16, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
As we were still awaiting one part before our bike will be fixed, and it did not arrive yesterday, we decided this morning we shall stay another night tonight.
This meant that we could actually find the time to book in for the Whale Watching experience from the inner harbour of Victoria, a 3 hour round trip out into American waters in search of whales, seals, sea lion, porpoises and dolphins, plus an array of bird we might get to see.
We booked for two o’clock and took the fabulous river taxi from the nearest ferry point to our motel right down through the harbour and marina. We summoned the taxi by telephoning a number, and along it came 15 minutes later. The pilot explained that he would have been there sooner but he had to await a large naval vessel navigating through a narrow part of the waterways. The journey probably took us 30 minutes, but cut out a walk of about an hour to get to where we needed to be to board the Orca Spirit.
We had high hopes (well I did, Paul of course was sceptical about what we would see), as the sun had been bright and high this morning when we booked the trip
We stepped off the taxi at Fisherman’s Wharf, a wonderful and vibrant village of floating homes, cafes and restaurants, which was buzzing with people, just like yesterday evening when we visited it for the first time. We picked ourselves up a quick lunch of Sushi, and went to book in for our trip.
Just as we arrived at the offices, the wind got up, the sky turned grey, and it began to spit with rain! We couldn’t believe it. However, we bravely ploughed ahead, along with the other 40 or so passengers, the captain, a deck hand and two Naturalists to zip across the waves speedily, before slowing for the first time to view Humpback Whales. My first view was just as one dived and I saw its massive tail diving down into the waters. Paul and I then stood valiantly in the lashing rain enjoying the short display a mother and her calf put on for us, which was lovely.
After moving on again, and another 15 minutes or so later, we were told that we were coming up to the living area of three Pods of Orca ‘Killer’ Whales. These three Pods are separate, and whilst communicating all using the same language, each Pod has a different dialect. There were whales from the Pod known as L in our view, about twelve of them, and each would blow, then rise up, either with a flip, or a whoosh before disappearing again. L89, a 23-year-old whale by the name of Solstice however gave us a real display chasing after salmon in front of us. Each whale requires 200 lb of salmon per day, and sadly a whale from J Pod recently died because she was unable to eat enough. There are 82 of these whales over the three Pods, and they are monitored and named by the Whale Conservation Society in the area. The eldest of them is 105 years old and is called Granny, she leads J Pod, but also appears to be the matriarch over all three Pods. It was truly breath-taking to see these wondrous creatures in their natural environment. A very special afternoon indeed.
We topped off this day by eating Halibut and Chips in the harbour.